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‘We are not the cops’

Firefighters union reiterates it won't assist police at demos in speech on solidarity with Palestine

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack reiterated that it is not the fire service’s job to police demonstrations on behalf of the government, in a speech on the union’s unwavering solidarity with Palestine today. 

Speaking at the annual FBU conference in Blackpool, Mr Wrack said: “There is no contradiction between fighting for pay and  pensions for our members, and fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people, no contradiction at all.”

Mr Wrack also added that the FBU makes “no apology” for calling out Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the stance he took at the start of the conflict, and Labour’s delays in adjusting their position. 

In his speech he paid tribute to “students across the world who are organising encampments against the occupation and the onslaught against the people of Gaza.”

On the role of the fire service in helping police during pro-Palestine protests, he said: “I think the message for this conference is to be absolutely clear.

“We are not the cops. It's not our job to police demonstrations on behalf of this government.”

He later reiterated that firefighting is a “humanitarian service.”

The statement came after an incident in Leicester earlier this month, in which police requested assistance during a protest by direct action group Palestine Action at a drone factory belonging to Elbit Systems.

In a statement released afterwards, the union said: “Previously, firefighters have been asked to assist the police in removing protesters.

“The FBU advises all members not to be involved in law enforcement activities.”

In Blackpool, resolutions were carried on backing an immediate ceasefire and the removal of support from prospective parliamentary candidates who have not supported the call for a ceasefire.

Several speeches received standing ovations from many delegates.

Lee Hunter, FBU chairman for Merseyside, wrote a poem which he read in front of the conference called “child in the rubble,” which ended: “We cannot accept this, too many innocents have died, this isn't a war, it’s a genocide.”


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